Sunday, June 24, 2018

Social Media - How do we use it wisely?

As a writer, I use social media to promote my books, but I'm finding that I use it far more than I should. I get distracted by pop-ups telling me my daughter has posted a new photo or my friend has updated her profile and then I soon find that I've wasted an hour of precious time that I'll never get back. Here's my take on it:
Social Media - Definition
Webster’s Definition: forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content

Added by me: and when used sparingly, it can renew old friendships, keep families in touch and provide quick event notifications.

When used impulsively, it can cause us to say things we wish we could take back, share things that should be kept private, and do irreparable harm to our relationships. There are some things best left unsaid.

When used excessively, it can keep our creative juices from flowing, it can cause artists to quit drawing, writers to quit writing and students to do mediocre work. It can keep us from thinking for ourselves, making it easy to be brainwashed into another’s way of thinking. It can create laziness by sharing someone else’s post rather than thoughtfully considering our own opinions and carefully choosing our own words to express it.
It can cause us to live our lives through a world of electronics rather than experiencing the real world around us. It promotes viewing photos of faraway places rather than to visit those places ourselves. It encourages us to play games with online people we’ve never met rather than play games outside creating memories with our siblings, our children, and our grandchildren.
It causes mental and physical inactivity creating an overweight and under-performing nation.
It can cause stress, depression, and hopelessness from constant news streams telling us how humanity is dead and how the world is going to hell in a handbasket.
It can create a need to be different in order to be cool because average and normal is not good enough. 
Challenge to me and to you: Go out into the world and live your own life. Set limits for your time on social media. Go sit on your neighbor’s front porch and chat or make a phone call to that far-away friend or family member. Get outside. We need natural light and fresh air for our mental and physical health.

And this is one I have to remind myself of often: don’t be dictated by someone else’s drama. Life hands you enough of your own.

Written by: Glenda Manus, author of Sweet Tea and Southern Grace

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